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Homers See Ems Through In Thrilling Extra Innings Win

Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile after a sensational comeback effort that saw the Emeralds tie the game despite being down to their final strike and later win it in extras
July 23, 2021

The Ems offense came alive late on Grateful Dead Night as a packed PK Park saw the Eugene Emeralds (40-28) tie it in the ninth and win it in the tenth in what was a thrilling comeback win over the Hillsboro Hops (29-38) in front of a season-high 4,209 fans.

The Ems offense came alive late on Grateful Dead Night as a packed PK Park saw the Eugene Emeralds (40-28) tie it in the ninth and win it in the tenth in what was a thrilling comeback win over the Hillsboro Hops (29-38) in front of a season-high 4,209 fans.


  • Winning Pitcher: Taylor Rashi (3-2, 4.88 ERA): 1.0 IP | 0 H | 0 R | 0 BB | 1 K

  • Losing Pitcher: Mailon Arroyo (1-1, 4.82 ERA): 1.0 IP | 2 H | 3 R | 2 ER | 0 BB | 3 K

  • Save: N/A

  • HR(s): Eugene: Auerbach (6), Aldrete (6) | Hillsboro: N/A

HOW IT HAPPENED: Thursday marked the third consecutive day that Hillsboro struck first to open the scoring, and they did so in the second inning.

Blaze Alexander led off the inning with a single to center field, and after a Nick Avila wild pitch and an Axel Andueza groundout, Leodany Perez slapped a single to right field that brought home Alexander and put the Hops up first, 1-0.

It was only a matter of time until Brett Auerbach was heard from, though, and he tied the game in the bottom of the third with another 400+ foot blast to left, a solo homer to tie the game at 1-1 while stretching his homer streak to three games in the process.

That’s all either offense would be heard from until the ninth inning as both starters – Eugene’s Nick Avila and Hillsboro’s Slade Cecconi – along with both bullpens kept opposing bats quiet and in check.

Fast forwarding all the way to the ninth and with the game still tied at 1-1, Hillsboro retook the lead after a Roman Ruiz leadoff double, a Dom Canzone single to right, a stolen base by Canzone, and an Andy Yerzy double together put the Hops up by two, 3-1, with the Emeralds down to their last three outs.

The Emeralds got down to their final out and their final strike in the bottom of the ninth, but with one swing of the bat Carter Aldrete breathed life back into the Ems and the raucous crowd behind them.

It started when Tyler Fitzgerald singled softly to center field on an 0-2 count to bring the would-be tying run to the plate, but after back-to-back three-pitch strikeouts by Franklin Labour and Heath Quinn, Aldrete stepped up as Eugene’s final hope.

Down to a 2-2 count and with Hillsboro closer Mailon Arroyo on the mound, Aldrete reached out and barreled up a hanging breaking ball and skied it to left, and after hanging up in the Oregon night sky for what felt like an eternity, the fly ball just barely cleared not only the left field wall but also the glove on the outstretched arm of Hops left fielder Eduardo Diaz, sending PK Park into pandemonium and forcing free baseball in Eugene.

In the tenth, Taylor Rashi entered out of the bullpen and worked a clean 1-2-3 inning for Eugene, setting the table for the top of the Emeralds lineup to complete the comeback.

The Emeralds needed only leadoff man Ismael Munguia to complete said comeback, but it didn’t hurt to have a helping hand from Hillsboro’s Mailon Arroyo, either. With Arroyo still on the mound to start the tenth, Munguia tried-and-failed at first to get a sac bunt down to advance Robert Emery, who started the inning at second per MLB/MiLB extra inning rules, to third base. Munguia’s second attempt yielded positive results, though, and then some.

Munguia’s second bunt attempt when right back to Arroyo who wisely turned and fired to third aiming to get the lead runner, but Arroyo’s throw sailed low and wide of Hops third baseman Roman Ruiz, scooting well into foul territory and allowing Emery to scamper home to score the winning run and wrap an improbable comeback victory to give Eugene their fortieth win of the season.


  • Brett Auerbach – 3B: Might as well just copy-paste what we’ve written here in each of this series’ first three games. For the third straight game, Auerbach blasted a 400+ homer and now has six homers in just sixteen games as an Emerald.

  • Carter Aldrete – 2B/LF: Seems pretty obvious, right? Aldrete, who has belted a pair of homers in each of the two prior series – all four of which have gone the opposite way – decided to exit stage left this time around, teeing off on a 2-2 count with two outs in the ninth to tie the game in the ninth.

  • Nick Avila – RHP: Coming off collecting a career-high nine strikeouts in his last outing, Avila leaned less on strikeouts and more on the quality defense behind him on Thursday night, firing 5.1 IP with five hits and five walks but just one run allowed.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Eugene Emeralds and Hillsboro Hops continue their six-game series at PK Park on Friday evening. First pitch on Friday between the Emeralds and Hops is slated for 7:05pm PST.

Friday is Princess Night at PK Park which also features the Friday Family 4-Pack. Purchase your tickets at and use the promocode ‘FAM4’ to get four box seat tickets for just $48.

You can catch all the action on Friday with Matt Dompe on the call via, 95.3FM The Score, or on the MiLB app.

Tickets to Emeralds home games are available at or by calling (541) 342-5367.

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